DRAMA; 1hr 43min
STARRING: Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Debra Winger, Garrett Wareing
Finding his voice: Wareing (left) with Hoffman
Eleven-year-old Texan Stet Tate (Wareing) is prickly as a cactus with the singing voice and face of an angel. And when his single mother dies and his chilly-fish father (Lucas) buys a place for him at the elite (fictional) American Boychoir School, Stet is out of place and out of his depth.
Every man, woman, child and their pet parrot knows what’s going to happen next. That would be Stet softening the heart of boot-faced choirmaster Carvelle (Hoffman) and trilling his way to artistic triumph and a brand new life. Stet’s is no plush cruise to acceptance — his father wants nothing to do with him, choirboy rivalry is a bitch and Carvelle is as approachable as a mollusc. The kid stays in the picture, though, hiding inside the school through a solitary Christmas holiday and battling it out with his detractors before finding his centre in the fleeting benediction of the music he makes. And what celestial music it is. Director François Girard isn’t splitting any atoms but the boys’ soaring pipes run shining rings around every pesky weak point.